Saturday, April 30, 2016

I've Only Got One Match...

Last night we kicked off the Epic Rides Whiskey Off Road weekend with the brutal Fat Tire Crit in downtown Prescott. I found accidental success here last May, by being persistent and patient, and was hungry at the start line for more of the same. 

The course has this epic-ly steep hill full of spectators and hecklers, a massive headwind on the descent and 8 corners, making the racing painful, tactical, and fun! The women race for 20 minutes + 3 laps. 

I felt confident going into the race because of last year's outcome and because I find a twisted pleasure in the agony of the Union st climb. The start went well, and soon I found myself in the break of 4, including Rose, Evelyn and Chloe. Rose and Chloe, being team mates apparently wanted to make us suffer like no other, and employed some fancy footwork attacking to really turn up the agony. By lap 4 my eyes were rolled to the back of my head and I was gasping for breath. My sit in and wait strategy was falling apart because an attack had Rose and Evelyn up the road a bit, and with Chloe not helping me out, I couldn't sit in! Then Chloe attacked me on the climb and my lungs and heart reached their breaking point trying to stay with her.

Photo cred: Les Stukenberg
After that I let the next group of 3 catch me hoping that we would be faster than me alone on the descents and flats, and that I could break them down on the climb. But apparently I went too deep during the first half of the race because I couldn't get my poor oxygen deprived legs to outclimb a snail, and by the descent I was so gassed each lap I had to work really hard to just recover. I'm not sure what Place I ended up, but let's just say it was NOT on the podium! A lesson in humility, a smack in the face from altitude, and a good serving of agony accompanied by searing burn in my lungs were all I got out of this race! 

Hurting like no other in the chase group, going into the climb I thought was my friend.
Photo cred: Les Stukenberg
But if I'm looking for the happy/beautiful/fun side, I got to ride with teamie Amy, who killed it in our chase group even though no one else would help her out, so that was fun. Also the cheering from the locals was top shelf. I love how many people come out and line the streets to see the crit racing action, and heckle us on the climb. 
Amy and I descending the back side of the course. I had to test out Anneke Langvad's aero technique, haha
Photo Cred: Dave McElwaine
To be honest, the normally extremely happy Lars who smiles her way through every bike race was struggling a bit yesterday. I think I put too much pressure on myself to perform well, and as a result have been letting dumb little things stress me out more than they should. Our way too long pe-ride on Thurs, the effects of the altitude on my lungs, the dead fatigued feeling in my legs, the decision about which bike to race... I need to let that stuff go and get back to my roots. I freaking love riding bikes, and doing it in cool places like Prescott?! Life doesn't get much better than this. So I'm having an attitude adjustment and choosing to enjoy every minute of the weekend, even if it hurts like hell! Bring on the suffering tomorrow along with the incredible trails, awesome women I get to race with, beer hand-ups, and rad team mates I get to hang out with! 

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